|Catalogue of Medieval Manuscripts|
The prefaces to M R James' four volume catalogue of Trinity College Manuscripts
Volume I. Manuscript in class B
The manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College are kept in three locked classes, designated respectively as B, R, and O. Class B is situated near the southern end of the Library, on the east side; class R is directly opposite to it; and class O is on the east side, near the north end. In B are contained the theological MSS.; in R those of historical and miscellaneous contents, together with the oriental MSS.; in O are the MSS. given by Roger Gale in 1738, commonly known as the Gale B MSS. The present Catalogue will be divided into three volumes, each of which will treat of one of these classes. The subject of this first volume is class B. I am not at this moment in a position to write a general introduction to the whole catalogue: I propose in this Preface to give some few indications of the principal sources whence the books have come, and to say something of the methods I have employed in describing them.
In the volume called
The first is John Whitgift, Master of the College from 1567 to 1577, and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to 1603-4. He gave some 150 MSS. In Strype's
The second is Thomas Nevile, Dean of Canterbury, Master of the College from 1593 to 1615, to the very great advantage of it. The MSS. given by him number 126. Of those whose provenance can be determined, the larger number are from Christ Church, Canterbury. The third is George Willmer, sometime Fellow-Commoner, who died in 1626. He gave 39 MSS. A fair proportion of these also are Canterbury books.
Sir Edward Stanhope appears as the donor of 15 MSS.: and there is another list in the
The names and benefactions of more recent donors, and of those who gave only a few volumes, as Jonathan Dryden, Edward and Thomas Rud, Silvius Elwis, Richard Bentley, and Samuel Sandars, appear in one of the lists which follow this Preface. The gifts of Sir Henry Puckering, being all placed in class R, will be more fitly discussed in the second volume of this catalogue.
The first printed Catalogue of the MSS. belonging to Trinity College is to be found in Thomas James's Ecloga
The second printed Catalogue is that in Bernard's
Lastly, in 1897, appeared that part of Dr Schenkl's
The methods of cataloguing these MSS. are those which I have employed in previous catalogues. If anything, the descriptions are fuller. I have everywhere noted the occurrence of pictures and described them, save in the case of the very latest books. I have also collated (i.e. ascertained and recorded the structure) of every MS. except the late paper ones: and I have devoted a good deal of time and space to the investigation of the history of the various volumes. If I should be enabled to complete the three volumes of this work, I shall hope to furnish them with adequate Indexes.
In sending forth this first volume I would desire to express my great gratitude to the Master and Fellows of Trinity College for the opportunity they have readily given me of indulging in my favourite pursuit, and of adding to my knowledge of ancient manuscripts. The Sub-Librarian of the College, Mr William White, has been most courteous and helpful. The staff of the University Press have borne with uncomplaining fortitude the strain of dealing with some seven hundred pages of my handwriting. They are not to blame for such misprints as may, and I fear will be, detected by critics.
Volume II. Manuscripts in Bay R
This second volume of the catalogue of the Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College comprises those standing in Class R. In subject they are highly miscellaneous, comprising as they do all the books that could not be classed as theological in virtue of their principal contents. History, Poetry, Philosophy, Law, Natural Science, Medicine and Music represent fairly the main departments; and the mere enumeration of these shows how wide a field for errors and omissions is open to the cataloguer.
In truth, I have been confronted with many puzzles, and defeated by not a few. If this volume is used by an expert in alchemy (if such there be) or in medieval medicine, or in later Italian history, he will most likely be able to criticize me sharply -- not, I hope, for giving him false information, but very probably for not telling him enough. I have instanced classes of books as to which I am conscious of ignorance; but it is equally likely that I have erred where the path was plainer. I shall be grateful to those who will set me right. A third volume, be it remembered, is to come, if I am spared to write it, and I shall not scruple to confess my mistakes when they are pointed out. I gladly borrow the words of a monk of Dover who wrote a careful catalogue of the books of his monastery: "Et uere non offendet compilantem, set diliget euidenter quicumque hanc matriculam adhuc multipliciter defectiuam in melius duxerit."
A few words as to the arrangement and provenance of the books in Class R may be not unwelcome. In the first two shelves are the accessions of recent date (none earlier than 1800). A very large proportion of these were the gifts of Mr Samuel Sandars, a generous benefactor alike to his College and to his University. The third and following shelves contain books the bulk of which are to be found in Bernard's
Puckering was no collector of antiquities. Hardly any of his books are earlier than the seventeenth century: but his collection is made remarkable by the presence in it of the famous Milton manuscript. The numerous books connected with Prince Henry have also an interest of their own: and the considerable mass of Italian documents probably contains a good deal of interesting matter of which hitherto not much use has been made. The scribe of many of the Italian treatises was Jacopo di Castelvetro, who for some time taught Italian at Cambridge. His diary is among the Harleian Manuscripts (no.3344).
Other donors who come before us in this Class for the first time are Thomas Whalley, Vice-Master of the College (1637), whose tastes appear to have run in the direction of alchemy, and John Wilson, Fellow (B.A. 1717), a collector of old medical books. The gifts of Whitgift and Nevile are less numerous than in Class B: but Willmer's assume greater importance, including as they do four precious volumes of English poetry.
Dame Anne Sadleir merits a special expression of gratitude for her gift of an Apocalypse, which must be ranked as one of the two finest in existence, and is certainly the most beautiful book in Cambridge.
In my account of the most copiously illustrated manuscript in this library -- the Canterbury Psalter -- I have departed from my usual custom of describing all the pictures I meet with in ancient books. This omission is, I think, amply justified by the following facts. The Psalter in question forms one of a group of four books (perhaps more) which all contain the same cycle of illustrations. The earliest of these is the famous Utrecht Psalter, the next in order that in the Harleian collection (no.603), and the latest, one at Paris. They have been studied in conjunction by Dr Anton Springer [
Comparatively few of the manuscripts in Class R can be traced to English monasteries. Very many of the books are quite modern, and others (especially those which treat of poetry, medicine, or alchemy) are of the kind which were most likely from the first in private hands. Still, we have books from Canterbury (including a Livy once the property of Thomas a Becket), Bury, Dover, Malmesbury, Winchester, and other smaller houses. I am particularly pleased at having been able to place the 'gromatic' manuscript (R.15.14) at St Augustine's, Canterbury. It would have been impossible to do so, had not I been in possession of a copy of the unpublished catalogue of that Library.
I am afraid that those who have used my first volume may have found the absence of an Index rather trying. I am convinced, however, that if the three volumes were each of them provided with an Index, the inconvenience would be very much greater; and it would be a lasting one instead of being, as I hope, only temporary.
I have appended to this Preface, besides the usual tables, and lists of donors, a copy of those entries in Sir Edward Stanhope's
Volume III. Manuscripts in Bay O
The important collection of manuscripts described in this volume was accumulated by Dr Thomas Gale and his eldest son Roger Gale. Dr Thomas Gale, born in 1635 or 1636, was successively Regius Professor of Greek in the University (1672), High Master of St Paul's School (1672) and Dean of York (1697). He died in 1702.
Roger Gale, born in 1672, became Scholar of Trinity in 1693 and Fellow in 1697, graduating as B.A. in 1694 and M.A. in 1698. He was at various times in Parliament and held an appointment under Government. He died in 1744.
The elder Gale's publications were of considerable merit and importance. They included the
A far more important benefaction, however, was his presentation of the Gale manuscripts to Trinity College. In 1697, on leaving London, Dr Thomas Gale presented his Oriental collection; and in 1738 Roger Gale gave the manuscripts now to be described. The letter in which he offered this magnificent gift to the Society is preserved in a small volume in Class 0. It runs as follows:
SCRUTON NEAR BEDALE,
The books thus generously offered arrived soon afterwards accompanied by a Catalogue; and it appears that shortly after their arrival some official of the College (most probably Sandys Hutchinson, the then Librarian) wrote to Roger Gale to say that for the most part the manuscripts corresponded with the Catalogue, but that there were three volumes he could not find, and some 23 or 24 which were not enumerated in the Catalogue. Mr Gale's answer to this letter is preserved in one of the Catalogues in Class 0, and from this I copy it;
Octob. 15 th, 1738.
In these two letters is comprised all that I know of the history of the presentation of the Gale manuscripts to the College. The books are placed in Class O near the south-eastern angle of the Library, where they occupy nine shelves (numbered 1-5, 7-10). The number of volumes catalogued by Gale was 430. Out of this total, however, two volumes were kept back by him, as we have seen; and, moreover, three numbers (9, 191, 265) are accidentally omitted in the numeration. This numeration has been continued up to 454 by the College Librarian, the added volumes being those referred to in Gale's second letter as having come into his possession when he lived in London. A few books have been placed at various times in Class O, which have no connexion with Gale. [O.3.58, 59: O.4.46, 47, 49-51: O.5.47.]
A catalogue of the manuscripts in possession of Dr Thomas Gale had been published about forty years before the date of Roger Gale's gift. It forms part of Bernard's great
Only the first and second of these sections concern us. Taking first the
In all there are something like twenty-three volumes in Bernard's list which are not now in the collection: but this defect is more than compensated by the acquisitions of Thomas and Roger Gale made subsequently to 1697. The total number of volumes recorded by Bernard is below two hundred, while, as we have seen, the College ultimately received about 450.
The Gale collection is of a most pleasingly miscellaneous character. Hardly a department of ancient or medieval literature is unrepresented in it; it comprises books written in every century from the ninth to the eighteenth. There are books in Greek, Latin, English, French, Italian, German, Bohemian, Dutch and Welsh. There are excellent specimens of illumination, French, English and Italian, and many of the greater monasteries of this country have made important contributions to the collection. It will probably be of use to point out in this place some of the principal elements which I have succeeded in distinguishing during the process of cataloguing.
First, I would point out a new fact, namely, that a considerable portion of the library of Dr Patrick Young (Patricius Junius) has found a home among the Gale manuscripts. [Antony a Wood,
Many of them were inherited (through his father Sir Peter Young) from his great-uncle Henry Scrimger. It has been asserted or supposed that most of these were given to the town of Dundee in 1618, and deposited in the vestry of St Mary's Church there, and that they perished in a fire which totally destroyed that building in 1841. [
The Catalogue of Lord Lumley's library [O.4.38] must almost certainly have come through Young's hands: he was librarian to Prince Henry, who purchased the collection on Lord Lumley's death. Next, there are important relics of the library of Dr John Dee, including the catalogue of that library. Most of the books I trace to him are alchemical and date from near his own time; but there are also one or two older manuscripts of considerable value. Dee's manuscript library was of great interest. It comprised some two hundred volumes, of which more than half, as I hope some day to shew, are still traceable.
A third class not inconsiderable in number consists of the transcripts of various kinds made for one or other of the Gales. These are for the most part Greek philosophical or mathematical works on one hand, and works of medieval English chroniclers on the other.
There are a good many medical note-books of the sixteenth century, mostly the property of one William Dun; while medieval astronomy, astrology and mathematics (especially ecclesiastical arithmetic, or
The collection has suffered some losses. Nine of the manuscripts sent by Roger Gale are no longer on the library shelves. [They are 0.3.44, 49: O.4.36: O.7.2, 17, 22, 36, 44: 0.8.16.] Of these, four are wholly or in part identifiable with manuscripts now in the British Museum. [Namely: 0.3.44: 0.7.17(?), 36; O.8.16.] There, too, are portions of a volume of which the greater part is still in the library [O.2.45]. These volumes were all in or about the year 1840 purchased by the Museum from Thomas Rodd who had bought them at J. O. Halliwell's sale. [On this matter see the article on Halliwell in
Another manuscript is beyond recall; namely, 0.4.36, which was borrowed by Professor Theodor Mommsen and perished in the lamentable fire at his house in 1880. It was not, apparently, an indispensable or even a very important authority for the texts (Jordanes, the Antonine Itinerary, etc.) which it contained, and other copies of its archetype are yet in being: still, the loss of it is very regrettable.
I should like, in sending out this catalogue of the Gale manuscripts, to be able to think that I had done full justice to the diligence which brought them together and the patriotism and generosity which selected so fitting a home for them as Trinity College Library: but I have no illusions on the subject. Specialists will find, as they must have found in previous volumes from my pen, plenty of unskilled labour, plenty of evidence that I lacked the knowledge of the tracts I was describing, and that I did not even know where such knowledge might have been gained. I must ask them, not only for their indulgence, but for their help. I will submit cheerfully to their chastening, if they will but accompany it with correction. Some of my readers, known and unknown, have supplied me with
The Index which has been promised in previous Prefaces will not be found in this volume. It is in process of being made, and will be issued -- I hope quite shortly -- as a separate book. I wish to accompany it with a survey of the manuscript fragments from book-bindings etc., in the Library, and also with a full list of
The work of cataloguing the manuscripts of Trinity College has been a long task, but a very pleasant one. The Vice-Master, the Librarian, the sub-Librarian and the rest of the staff -- to say nothing of other members of the Society -- have conspired to make it easy; the magnificent building in which the books are kept is itself an incentive to work; and the University Press has once again earned my sincere admiration and gratitude for the masterly way in which it has dealt with the "copy" I have supplied to it. I have sometimes thought of publishing a facsimile of a page of my manuscript. It would excite a lively sympathy for the compositors, but I doubt if my reputation would stand the shock.
Volume IV. Index, corrigenda, addenda and plates.
In sending out the fourth and concluding volume of my Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts of Trinity College, I am troubled with many misgivings as to the character of the whole work. The man who undertakes the task of describing a large and heterogeneous mass of books, ranging in date from the seventh or eighth century to the nineteenth, and not restricted to one language or to even three or four subjects, is necessarily giving many hostages to fortune. He is exposing himself to the onslaughts of every future specialist who has recourse to his laboriously compiled volumes. Absence of references to printed editions of texts, failures to detect the identity of a nameless treatise, omissions of what prove to be important details in the description of miniatures, ignorance of famous heraldic bearings, will all merit and perhaps meet with sharp reproof. If the cataloguer writes a bad hand and is, to say the least, an indifferent corrector of printed proofs, he has yet more to fear. To these errors and failings I plead guilty; but I have deliberately preferred risking mistakes and producing the best catalogue I could within five years, to consulting all the available experts and postponing publication until the ninth.
Misgivings are, therefore, justifiable in my case; yet it must be said that so far the experts have treated me with great kindness and forbearance. MM. Delisle and Paul Meyer and Dr Liebermann in particular have furnished me with information which I desire to acknowledge with cordial thanks. Other scholars who may be kind enough to notify additions and corrections to the Librarian of the College will doubtless earn his gratitude.
In the present volume are contained a selection of facsimiles of characteristic scripts and interesting specimens of illuminations from blocks made by Mr Edwin Wilson of Mill Lane, Cambridge. Among those which illustrate writings are included some which show the hand which I believe that Lanfranc introduced at Christ Church, Canterbury. A list of the facsimiles follows this preface.
I have, furthermore, given a brief list of the Porson manuscripts in Class C, (not including the numerous printed books containing manuscript notes by him,) and also such corrections of and additions to the first three volumes of this Catalogue as I could collect. No one will suppose that I consider the list complete. A general reference only is given to M. Paul Meyer's invaluable tract on the old French manuscripts in the Library.
Last in order follows the Index, which is of my own making. Time will show whether it is good or bad. It was printed off before the rest of this volume was written, and consequently does not include any references to the Addenda or Corrigenda.
Having now accomplished what I could for the honour of the Trinity manuscripts, I would desire for them large and valuable accessions to their number, and a secure sojourn in their magnificent home for more centuries than the oldest of them has yet seen.
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